Bolton Hill musician, public school grad, will Join Met Opera Orchestra

Silvio Guitian, Clarinet
Silvio Guitian, Clarinet

A young man who grew up on Bolton Street and graduated from Baltimore School for the Arts, Silvio Guitian, 27, is about to become a member of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, based at Lincoln Center in Manhattan and one of the world’s great performing ensembles.

“I’m very excited about the move. I love playing opera,” he said from Kansas City where, for nearly five years, he has been part of the Kansas City Symphony. At the MET he’ll hold one of two principal clarinet positions, starting in February.

It’s a great career move. According to his mother, he showed an interest in music as a four-year-old, playing first drums and recorder and then the clarinet. He attended Waldorf School, took private music lessons and studied music at Oberlin Conservatory, part of Oberlin College in Ohio, and in graduate school at Rice University in Houston.

“There were five of us who graduated together from BSA who were in my starting class at Oberlin, which was really great,” he said. Baltimore School for the Arts is a public high school for the arts on Cathedral Street in Mt. Vernon. It calls itself one of the top five public performing arts high schools in the country, with an impressive roster of graduates in dance, film, music, stage design and production, theatre, and the visual arts. Guitian said he auditioned for admission to a school where half of the day was devoted to music and the rest to high school studies.

For the Met Opera assignment, Guitian competed with about 200 other applicants in a series of blind auditions. That field winnowed down over three days, judged by a panel of orchestra musicians from whom the identities of the applicants were hidden. “They even took away our phones,” he said.

“I’ve done several of these auditions around the country and you come to know and respect the other musicians,” he said.

Although moving to New York is daunting, “my grandfather lived in the city, and he and his wife were very into opera and The Met. They were big opera fans. I think he would have been very excited about this.” He said a lot of his Baltimore high school friends live and work in New York.

Guitian’s parents, Ginny Perkins and her former husband Celso Guitian, moved to Bolton Hill in 1999 and raised Silvio and his sister in the 1300 block of Bolton Street. Ginny has taught at MICA and now does ceramics at Baltimore ClayWorks.

–Bill Hamilton